Kinsearching February 8, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     On 1 November 2009, the West Texas town of Spur, located in Dickens County, will celebrate its centennial. Few--if any--new American towns were established in the late twentieth century or have been founded in the early twenty-first century, perhaps partly because housing additions emerge as towns and cities expand. So the question arises: How was a town created at the beginning of the twentieth century? That question, in turn, leads to many others. For instance, what were the first businesses? Did any businesses begin operations before town lots were sold? How were materials brought in? Why did people move to a new town? What hardships did they face? What made them decide to remain? Why did some people decide not to stay? From where did new residents come? How did a town progress?

     Using selected items from the Spur newspaper, The Texas Spur, answers to many of these questions can be discovered. The information comes from the issues for 1 Oct 1909 (v. 1, no. 1), 29 Oct 1909 (v. 1, no. 2), 12 Nov 1909 (v. 1, no. 3), and 4 Nov 1910 (v. 2, no. 1). In order to retain the "flavor" of that era, most items are reproduced verbatim. As you read the data, notice the language and expressions used and compare them to today's journalism.

     Since the newspaper issues do not have pagination, the page numbers utilized are approximate. In some cases, punctuation has been added for clarity. Surnames are in all-caps for emphasis.

Spur, Dickens County, TX

     Excitement about the new town was apparent. Before lots went on sale on 1 November 1909, a "tent city" had already sprung up at the Spur site. Tents supplied temporary housing for people and for businesses.

     "EBY Bros. are now doing business in a tent on the Spur townsite...They handle groceries and all the necessary supplies for the large number of people on the grounds waiting for the town lots to be placed on sale...." (1 Oct 1909, p. 2, c. 1)

     "...Ellis OGDEN moved to Spur from Rotan and put in a barber shop and since that time has been doing business in a tent near the townsite. We are informed that he has just sold his business including barber chairs, tools and all material to E. E. PATTERSON, of Paducah, Texas, who will hereafter conduct the business at the present location until the town lots are placed on sale and a permanent location can be secured.

     Mr. OGDEN will be associated as a barber for the new firm, and being a first-class barber and an accommodating gentleman in every respect, the new firm will most assuredly continue to enjoy the same liberal patronage as before...." (29 Oct 1909, p. 2, c. 4)

     "...there are a number of families in the town living in tents...."(12 Nov 1909, p. 1, c. 5). Nearly two weeks after the sale of town lots, many of these people were in Spur so their children could attend school.

(To be continued)

     Descendants of Martin PALMER/PARMER (1778 - 1850) will hold their bi-annual family reunion on 27-28 March 2009 in Hutto, TX. He lived in San Augustine, TX, during the time of the Fredonian Rebellion in the 1820s. Known as the "Ring-tailed Panther, he served as a delegate at Washington on the Brazos where he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.

     Activities will include sharing genealogical data, listening to speakers telling stories, and taking a bus trip to the Austin State Cemetery. For more information, get in touch with Ron Palmer, 410 Spring Valley, Hutto, TX 78634 (phone 512-759-2982; e-mail

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